Ann Sychterz's directory photo.

Ann Sychterz

Assistant Professor

Primary Affiliation

Autonomous Materials Systems


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering




  • Biography

    Ann Sychterz is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her primary affiliation is Autonomous Materials Systems.  In 2014, she built full-scale aluminum pedestrian bridges for vibration characterization and control. In 2018, she addressed the novel use of control algorithms, statistical diagnostic tools, and real-time feedback on a full-scale tensegrity structure to enable smooth deployability, damage detection, adaptation, and learning. Her research work is focused on designing, building, testing, and simulating of structures that are adaptive, lightweight, large-scale, resilient, and sustainable. Ann has had industry experience in design firms such as civil and mechanical engineering at Walterfedy in Kitchener, Canada and structural engineering at MMM Group in Toronto, Canada. These large-scale interdisciplinary projects — such as Conestoga College and St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton — were focused on sustainable design and LEED certification. During her undergraduate degree, she was a captain of the UW student team for the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race and also served as a mentor for the concrete canoe and ASCE steel bridge student teams. Ann enjoys trail running, aerial arts, hiking, biking, paddleboarding, and jazz music/dance/DJing.


    • B.A.Sc, civil and environmental engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada, 2012

    • M.A.Sc, civil engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada, 2014

    • Ph.D, civil engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, 2018

  • Honors
    • 2023: ASCE SEI Futures Fund Young Professionals Award

    • 2022: ASCE ExcEEd Fellow

    • 2021: Faculty Fellow, ORMIR, Gies College of Business

    • 2021: Levenick Sustainable Teaching Fellowship

    • 2020: Faculty Fellow, National Center for Supercomputing Application (NCSA)

    • 2019: Early Postdoc.Mobility, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

    • 2013: Canadian Graduate Scholarship, CGS M Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

    • 2012: Ontario Graduate Scholarship Ministry of Advance Education and Skills Development

  • Research

    Research areas:

    • Structural engineering

    • Sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems

    Research interests:

    • Form-finding methods for cable and tensile structures

    • Optimized sensor placement for civil structures

    • Structural dynamics

    • Machine learning and robotics for civil structures

    • Damage mitigation and risk assessment in large-scale structures

    • Adaptive and deployable structures

    A manifestation of sustainability in infrastructure is the reduction of embodied energy and energy required in the manufacturing process. Adaptive structures show promise to address challenges for structures currently being overdesigned and unmodifiable our ever-changing environment. Emerging technologies for civil engineering structures combine sensing with real-time active feedback control which includes form-finding methods, structural dynamics, statistical diagnostic tools, sensor placement optimization, robotics, and multi-scale experimental testing. This work combines structural engineering with mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and architecture for experimental and analytical research to develop active control adaptive systems for civil infrastructure.

  • 2023

    • Gathman, H.F and Sychterz, A.C., Design of a full-scale aluminum plate-based tensegrity structure, Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures, (In-press) 2023


    • Baruah, A.C and Sychterz A.C., Assessment and comparison of cable-actuation of pill bug inspired adaptive origami structure using computer vision and dynamic relaxation, Frontiers in Built Environment 2021 ,
    • Sychterz, A.C. and Baruah, A.C., Active Control for Adaptive Origami Structures Undergoing Damage, Engineering Structures, 24, 10.1016/j.engstruct.2021.112457, 2021, 1–9
    • Sychterz, A.C., Bernardi, I., Tom, J., Beemer, R. Nonlinear soil-structure behavior of a deployable and compliant anchor system, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 10.1139/cjce-2021-0204, 2021


    • Sychterz, A.C. and Smith, I.F.C., Damage mitigation of near-full-scale deployable tensegrity structure through behavior biomimetics, Journal of Structural Engineering, 146 (1), 10.1061/(ASCE)ST.1943-541X.0002470, 2020.


    • Sychterz, A.C. and Smith, I.F.C., Deployment and shape change of a tensegrity structure using path-planning and feedback control, Frontiers in Built Environment, 10.3389/fbuil.2018.00045, 2018.
    • Sychterz, A.C. and Smith, I.F.C., Using dynamic measurements to detect and locate ruptured cables on a tensegrity structure, Engineering Structures, 173 (10), 10.1016/j.engstruct.2018.06.083, 2018, 631—642.


    • Bel Hadj Ali, N., Sychterz A.C., and Smith I.F.C., A dynamic-relaxation formulation for analysis of cable structure with slide-induced friction, Journal of Solids and Structures, 126-127, 10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2017.08.008, 2017, 240—251.
    • Sychterz, A.C. and Smith I.F.C., Joint friction during deployment of a near-full-scale tensegrity footbridge, Journal of Structural Engineering, 143 (9), 10.1061/(Asce)St.1943-541X.0001817, 2017, 1—9.
    • Veuve, N., Sychterz, A.C., and Smith, I.F.C., Active control of a deployable tensegrity structure, Engineering Structures, 152, 10.1016/j.engstruct.2017.08.062, 2017, 14—23.


    • Dey, P., Sychterz, A.C., Narasimhan, S., and Walbridge, S., Performance of pedestrian-load models through experimental studies on lightweight aluminum bridges, Journal of Bridge Engineering, 21 (8), 10.1061/(Asce)Be.1943-5592.0000824, 2016, 1—12.


    • Sychterz A.C., Schill, T. and Verspagen, B., Low-impact development measures of storm water management system at Conestoga College South Campus, Journal of Water Management Modeling, 10.14796/JWMM.C371, (2), 2014.